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Case Study

San Carlo believe that the key to everything is the quality of their ingredients.

San Carlo believe that the key to everything is the quality of their ingredients. To this end, they use only the finest and freshest seasonal produce, much of which is flown in from markets across Italy, in order to ensure both authenticity and provenance. They have a range of restaurants: Fumo, Gran Café, Alto, Signor Sassi, Flying Pizza, Bottega and, of course, their flagship San Carlo restaurants in the UK’s major cities, all of which offer beautiful Italian cuisine.

Carlo Distefano opened the first San Carlo restaurant in 1992 in Temple Street, Birmingham. The company continues to thrive and grow with two new openings in 2018 so far. This brings the group up to 21 in the UK, with further international restaurants in the Middle East.


The Challenge

Despite the venues varying from prestigious high street locations to cafes within Selfridges department stores, the San Carlo experience should be the same high quality across the board. Being a family run business, there is a real sense of care in the service being offered. It is important that the staff are friendly but still formal in their approach. Nothing is too much trouble. The group wanted to understand how their service matched up to the expectation and whether they were truly providing the service levels that they wanted to – perfection is hard to maintain!


Our Insight

In order to ensure that we were effective in capturing the necessary and relevant data for each site, we needed to be sure that we understood the different journeys that the customer would experience. This depended on which venue the customer visited and how exactly San Carlo wanted that visit to flow. It was about what San Carlo felt was important, how they wanted to be perceived and also the key elements that they felt gave the unique “San Carlo experience”.

Established in


No. of restaurants


The Outcome

Each of the sectors within the brand has its own “journey map” and a questionnaire was developed from this. Providing clear, concise, objective data and supplying comparisons across each brand and restaurant type has given San Carlo the ability to understand how their different strands work for the customer. Importantly, it has also shown them how what they offer can be improved in the key areas that really matter to them. From the welcome at the door, to the service, to delivering food and paying the bill, each element is measured, quantified and reported on.

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